From the liberal Huffington Post, of all places. (H/T Stuart Schneiderman)
First, here’s the list of skills for women to develop to avoid divorce:
- Skill #1: Do at Least Three Things a Day for Your Own Pleasure
- Skill #2: Relinquish Control of People You Can’t Control
- Skill #3: Receive Gifts, Compliments and Help Graciously
- Skill #4: Respect The Man You Chose
- Skill #5: Express Gratitude Three Times Daily
- Skill #6: Strive to be Vulnerable
And here’s the detail on one that I think is the most important:
Skill #4: Respect The Man You Chose
Being respectful will resurrect the man you fell in love with. You’re too smart to have married a dumb guy, so if he seems dumb now, it’s because you’re focused on his shortcomings. It’s not that you made a mistake in marrying him, it’s that you’ve been focused on his mistakes since you married him. A man who feels respected by the woman who knows him best also feels self-respect, which is far more attractive than cowering and hostility.
Lack of respect causes more divorces than cheating does because for men, respect is like oxygen. They need it more than sex. Respect means that you don’t dismiss, criticize, contradict or try to teach him anything. Of course he won’t do things the same way you do; for that, you could have just married yourself. But with your respect, he will once again do the things that amazed and delighted you to begin with — so much so that you married him.
And here’s the detail on the one that I think is the most neglected:
Skill #6: Strive to be Vulnerable
Intimacy and vulnerability are directly connected. If you want intimacy, then you’ll need to take the risk of admitting that you’re lonely, embarrassed or hurt. This is not the same as weakness; it actually requires great strength.
When you’re vulnerable you don’t care about being right, you’re just open and trusting enough to say “I miss you” instead of “you never spend time with me.” It means you simply say, “ouch!” when he’s insensitive instead of retaliating. That vulnerability completely changes the way he responds to you.
Vulnerability is not only attractive, it’s the only way to get to that incredible feeling of being loved just the way you are by someone who knows you well. There’s nothing like the joy of intimacy that results from vulnerability. It really is worth dropping the burden of being an efficient, overscheduled superwoman to have it.
Before I get started, a piece of advice for men. I really, really recommend that single men take the time to read ALL the comments by the women underneath that post before they even think about getting married. It’s important for single men to realize that your old-fashioned ideas about marriage and what women should do in a marriage are often not accepted by modern women – even Christian women. Most churches don’t emphasize the things in the list above, because they are trying to make women feel good, and not to tell them what needs doing and how to do it. When you read the comments by women blaming men and attacking the 6 points, that will help you to see what you should be looking for, so you know how to make sound judgments about who to marry and whether to marry at all.
Right. Let’s begin with the 6 points.
From that list above, the ones I have personally encountered are #1, #3, #4, #5 and #6.
For #1, many unmarried women think that relationships are more about being happy than achieving things. If the woman gets into a relationship for happiness, and is not happy, then she may blame the man for failing to make her happy. The solution is to have a more realistic balance between happiness and self-sacrificial service. An unmarried women should focus on finding out what the man’s plans and goals are, and why he needs her. She has to focus on showing him that she wants to be informed and engaged in helping him. That is the best way for her to work through this desire to be happy, so that she learns by doing how to balance the need for happiness with the obligation to serve and achieve. Another way to lower the need for happiness provided by the man is for the woman to have her own interests. For example, my favorite single woman likes to spend time in the evening decompressing with stuff like cross-stitching, reading, playing with her cat, etc. before we do stuff together. She has her own sources of happiness and that means that I am not overburdened every day as the sole source of happiness. That can be overwhelming on days where she is stressed out from work.
For #3 and #5, I have to tell a funny story about what I have been doing lately with my favorite single woman, whose name I won’t mention. I have been busy trying to get her to tell me all about what her life is like from day to day and then buying her small things to help her out with her daily struggles. For example, I bought her an ice scraper so that she wouldn’t have to scrape ice off her windshield with her gloves. I bought her kitchen shears so that she wouldn’t have to fuss with raw chicken. And I am planning to get her a new corded hand-vacuum for Christmas because she has to lug the heavy one up and down the stairs now. Why am I fussing so much about this woman? Because she is the most grateful woman I know. Whenever I do anything for her, she tells everyone about it and I hear about how helpful I’ve been every time she uses whatever I bought her. Women, get it clear: men prefer to help grateful women. Especially ones who are busy helping them with their plans and goals. When we see you serving God in accordance with our priorities and goals (e.g. – apologetics!), that’s when we really want to give you gifts and listen to your needs. Because we see you doing what we are passionate about, and we naturally think “how can I motivate her to do that?” and “how can I make it easier for her to do that?”
For #4, I have a whole post on the importance of respect. I think the scariest thing for a woman is thinking that she will have to respect a bad men, even when he is bad. But women like that are looking at marriage wrong. The respect is non-negotiable. You will respect your husband or you will be cheated on or divorced. So with that in mind, choose a man who you do respect. That’s the solution – test the men carefully and effectively and choose one who is easy to respect. Find out during the courtship if you like the way he leads, persuades and makes decisions. Choose a man who listens to you and motivates you to do good things. Choose a man based on what marriage will require him to be doing, not based on how he makes you feel or whether your friends will be impressed.
For #6, I think that women really need to realize the power of vulnerability. My view, which is controversial, is that the reason why women are focusing so much on their appearance and getting themselves drunk in order to do hook-up sex is because feminism has made it illegal for them to attract men with traditional femininity. Vulnerability, trust, modesty, nurturing, care, concern, attention, support, etc. are all viewed by unmarried women as illegal and even immoral – even though they work on men very well. In particular, vulnerability, respect and trust are among the most important things to a good man. Men treat women nicely when they see how sensitive women are to good treatment and bad treatment. If a woman squeals, squeaks and coos when she gets flowers and treats them like pets and rearranges them often and photographs them and tweets them on Twitter, then the chances are that she will get a lot more flowers from that man. Because men are motivated by the desire to make a difference and to be appreciated and to be special to a woman who needs us. When a good woman doing good things that are challenging and difficult explains her real doubts and feelings and worries and fears to a man, that’s when a man feels motivated to swoop in there and rescue her. Women need to practice being vulnerable, and to protect their ability to be vulnerable by avoiding premarital sex and messy breakups. Choose good men so that you always see men at their best, and marry one that you have chosen before you kiss him on the lips. I knew one woman once who was cheating on her boyfriend with a guy who had a girlfriend, and his girlfriend called and he lied right in front of her! What do you think that this does to her ability to trust men in the future? It ruins it – having bad experiences like that. Maintain your ability to trust and be vulnerable by being rational, prudent and responsible with men. It is fun to be vulnerable with a man! Don’t compromise your ability to be a woman by choosing the wrong men for the wrong reasons and then getting bitter and jaded and mistrustful.
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